Chitosan-based nanosystems and their exploited antimicrobial activity

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Chitosan is a biodegradable and biocompatible natural polysaccharide that has a wide range of applications in the field of pharmaceutics, biomedical, chemical, cosmetics, textile and food industry. One of the most interesting characteristics of chitosan is its antibacterial and antifungal activity, and together with its excellent safety profile in human, it has attracted considerable attention in various research disciplines. The antimicrobial activity of chitosan is dependent on a number of factors, including its molecular weight, degree of deacetylation, degree of substitution, physical form, as well as structural properties of the cell wall of the target microorganisms. While the sole use of chitosan may not be sufficient to produce an adequate antimicrobial effect to fulfil different purposes, the incorporation of this biopolymer with other active substances such as drugs, metals and natural compounds in nanosystems is a commonly employed strategy to enhance its antimicrobial potential. In this review, we aim to provide an overview on the different approaches that exploit the antimicrobial activity of chitosan-based nanosystems and their applications, and highlight the latest advances in this field.

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